Photography and Adventure Sports

It goes without saying that living and shooting in the Southwest is many a photographer’s dream. The light, landscape, people and culture make for endless creative possibilities for the itinerant artist. One could easily spend a lifetime wandering the mountains and mesa’s of northwest New Mexico without ever getting bored.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last nine years of my life doing just that. Gallup and the surrounding area offer an incredible diversity of terrain and things to do and see. The landscape can be an incredible source of inspiration.

Finding that inspiration is the key. For me it usually comes when least expected, zooming down the road on my way to something else, when a sublime scene passes before my windshield. A decision is made; turn around or simply be a witness, but the effect is always the same; grab a camera and start exploring.

Gallup isnt known for being an adventure destination it does offer some great opportunities for photographing adventure sports. Cycling, hot air ballooning and trail running are probably the easiest due to their popularity, but climbing, cross country skiing and hiking are other great sports that are found in our area. I often find interesting scenes to photograph and then imagine what they would look like with a human in the frame. Then I go back when the light is good, taking a rider/runner to complete the scene.

My favorite part of shooting in this area is the quality of light and how it can change so quickly. At any given time of day a scene can have a completely different feel. Shooting in the mornings and evenings are preferred but looking for those moments of lights that happen less frequently offer the greatest reward. Like when the sun peeks out from an otherwise overcast scene, fanning rays across the landscape. Or right after a rain storm, when the light has a clear quality and everything looks crisp and clean.

I have found that one of the most challenging things about being a photographer is translating the emotions you experience as you photograph into a two dimensional space. Words can barely describe the glory of an epic sunrise, but it can be even more challenging to create a photograph that conveys those emotions. Sometimes I just stand in watch, surrendering to the scene without ever lifting my camera.

We live in a magnificent and complex area full of beauty that can transform before your eyes. Having a camera along to document those moments has made for an interesting journey.